The idea for Heat of the Kitchen began when youth came into Alice’s restaurant, Modern Tea, on days off to cook together, eat together and clean up together. Yes, a commercial dish sprayer may be magic to a 3rd grader, but that didn’t overshadow the satisfying deliciousness of cooking and eating with your peers using produce you just picked from your school garden (Thank you always Community Grows).
Realizing older youth deserve more opportunities for tangible, active work practice, we brought this professionally minded cooking theme up the hill to Ida B.Wells High School. Here we are able to teach a CTE (Career Technical Education) course where the skills we build “last long after the dishes are done”. That’s not just cooking skills, but also those important in-demand skills needed in today’s workplace. Real activities bring real experiences students value and in turn allow them to truly get a sense of their own value. And each of us needs to harness that value before we can discover what we want to do with our lives.
A certificated CTE teacher, Alice no longer leads the class efforts and is instead helping to prepare Heat of the Kitchen for growth opportunities that will bring even more lasting support to the youth in our city.